Americans have an insatiable appetite for sport, whether it be the dedicated try-hard amateurs that come alive on the golf course or the finely tuned professionals that ply their trade in front of sell-out crowds.
Whilst NFL undoubtedly dominates the American sporting conscious, it does not dominate in the way that other popular sports do in foreign countries. That’s because, like the American people themselves, our sporting landscape is diverse and aberrant.
Want proof of just how varied the American sporting landscape is? Read on to find out about the melting pot of events that make up the American sporting calendar.
The NBA Playoffs
Whilst the NFL is the most popular domestic sport in the USA, basketball remains the country’s most successful export. The sport which was invented by Canadian-American Dr. James Naismith as a way to keep athletes fit during the long winter months is now the world’s third most popular sport.
It sits behind soccer and cricket in the rankings with an estimated global following of 2.2 billion fans, the majority of which live for the NBA playoffs. The annual best of seven tournament sees the biggest names in the NBA battle it out for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
Last won by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, the NBA playoffs typically take place in the middle of the year. This season’s battle begins on Thursday 2nd June with the Phoenix Suns the favorites in the NBA playoffs odds at the time of writing.
The MLS Playoffs
20 years ago American soccer was the butt of the joke around the globe, but all of that changed in 2007 when LA Galaxy signed global superstar David Beckham from Real Madrid. Since then MLS the popularity and credibility of MLS have skyrocketed.
Unlike traditional soccer leagues, MLS employs the American playoffs format to find the best team in the country. The final of this year’s MLS Playoffs will be played on November 5, just 16 days before the start of the FIFA World Cup.
The final of last year’s Playoffs was New York City who triumphed 4-2 over Portland Timbers on aggregate. The favourites for this year’s tournament are the Seattle Sounders, coached by nomadic manager Brian Schmetzer.
Horse racing has been a popular pastime for centuries. Here in America, the most famous horse racing event in the Kentucky Derby, held every year on the first Saturday of May. The event was inaugurated on May 17, 1875 – 146 years ago.
Marketing itself as the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sport” the race regularly attracts huge crowds, with the exception being the recent two years of Covid-19 enforced lockdowns and regulations. This year however will see a packed out crowd eagerly cheering on their betting predictions to hope for victory.
The record for the fastest time at the Derby was set in 1973 by Secretariat who ran a time of 1:59.40. Messier, Epicenter and Smile Happy are the three horses hoping to set a record of their own when they meet in May of this year.
The MLB World Series
Created at some point in the 1700s or 1800s, baseball is a sport that holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. Major League Baseball, the highest level of the sport on the planet is enjoyed not only by North Americans but also by millions of fans in South America and Asia.
There are a number of highlights in the baseball calendar including the All-Star Game, but like many American sports, the undoubted highlight is the postseason. Instead of deciding the champion via a Playoff tournament featuring half a dozen teams, MLB bragging rights are decided by the World Series.
Every year the best team in the American League faces off against the best team in the National League with the first to win 4 games being crowned undoubted champions of MLB. The Atlanta Braves won last year’s World Series but it is the Los Angeles Dodgers who are favoured to win this year’s series.
The Super Bowl
You thought we were going to go a whole article without referencing America’s favourite sport and America’s most-watched event didn’t you? Well, we’ve saved the best for last.
The NFL is the jewel in America’s sporting crown and is watched by tens of millions of fans throughout each game week of the regular season. The undoubted pièce de résistance is the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the Playoffs which is typically held in February.
This game which is not only famous for sporting action but also star-studded half-time shows has being the basis of some of the greatest drama in American sports history. Last season it was the Los Angeles Rams who lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy after picking off the plucky Cincinnati Bengals.
Who will win next season’s showpiece event? With so much business and action to come, we couldn’t possibly say.